The Polkadot network is “very near launch,” founder Gavin Wood told attendees of the Ready Layer One (RL1) virtual conference on Wednesday in a sneak peek of the Ethereum co-founder’s new network.
Wood, who wrote Ethereum’s technical paper in 2014, created Polkadot with the intention of allowing users to send transactions across blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum in what is commonly referred to as making them interoperable.
Like Kusama, Wood told RL1 attendees that Polkadot will roll out in five or six stages, beginning with a “chain candidate” launched by the Web3 Foundation. This candidate can be voted up or down, but would act as the de facto genesis block for the network if accepted, Wood said (Wood did not specify who would vote on the candidate).
Notably, the network will launch under a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus algorithm that Wood invented, which will initially give all on-chain authority to the Web3 Foundation, the non-profit behind Polkadot. As such, the Polkadot network will have limited functionality, Wood said.
“It allows us to start the chain without having to have a set of validators already assembled and having to trust in our potentially unfulfilled governance structures to move the chain forward,” Wood said.
The PoA structure is not dissimilar to the NEAR protocol, another Ethereum competitor that announced the launch of its mainnet earlier this week. NEAR is likewise rolling out in a heavily restricted form.
Subsequent stages of the Polkadot rollout will issue the network’s DOT tokens to holders and form validators for the planned switch to PoS. This work will be overseen by a “Sudo module,” Wood said, that will govern how the blockchain structure is initially formed. This module will eventually be dissolved, with DOT token holders taking over the network’s governance toward the end of Polkadot’s launch.
The Sudo module and overarching rollout structure are a “staging ground as much as a proposal” for evolving the chain from something that is restricted to something that is permissionless, Wood said.
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